ODU receives 1.5 million grant to help minority students pursue STEM education

Photo provided by Old Dominion University.

NORFOLK, Va. – For minorities who are or are looking to attend Old Dominion University, a new grant the school received may help some who want to study STEM education.

Officials at ODU announced that the University received the $1.5 million  Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) grant, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The money will be spread over five years and will be used to help underrepresented, minority undergraduates in STEM fields pursue careers in biomedical and behavioral sciences research.

The grant was secured in part by ODU professors Alvin Holder and Desh Ranjan, who both teach STEM-related courses at the University.

“It’s a unique opportunity because we have strong research programs in sciences and a good pool of minority students who will qualify for the program,” Ranjan said. “We want to help address a national need for diversity in STEM graduate education and especially in biomedical research.”

ODU estimates that about 33 percent of undergraduates are classified as underrepresented, a factor that weighed heavily in the professors’ decision to apply for the grant.

The MARC program is the “gold standard for undergraduate research programs,” said Gail Dodge, dean of the College of Sciences.

“We are thrilled at the success of Dr. Holder and Dr. Ranjan in securing one of these very competitive MARC grants,” Dodge said. “One of our priorities for the College of Sciences is to increase opportunities for undergraduate research, and so we are happy to provide financial and logistical support for the MARC program.”

The grant will also allow for students to take advantage of other opportunities such as a 10-weeks at a research-extensive university and funding for travel to national conferences, including the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.